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1.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
Conclusions
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200.
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050200
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
2.  Influenza and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Croatian hospitals: a series of cross-sectional surveys, 2006–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:520.
Background
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases. Vaccination lowers morbidity and mortality of HCWs and their patients. To assess vaccination coverage for influenza and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among HCWs in Croatian hospitals, we conducted yearly nationwide surveys.
Methods
From 2006 to 2011, all 66 Croatian public hospitals, representing 43–60% of all the HCWs in Croatia, were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, Dunn’s multiple comparison analysis and the chi-square test, as appropriate.
Results
The median seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates in pre-pandemic (2006–2008) seasons were 36%, 25% and 29%, respectively. By occupation, influenza vaccination rates among physicians were 33 ± 21%, 33 ± 22% among graduate nurses, 30±34% among other HCWs, 26 ± 21% among housekeeping and the lowest, 23 ± 17%, among practical nurses (p < 0.01). In 2009–2010 season, seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 30%, while overall vaccination coverage against pandemic influenza was fewer than 5%. Median vaccination coverage in the post-pandemic seasons of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 decreased to 15% and 14%, respectively (reduction of 24% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the median mandatory HBV vaccination coverage was 98%, albeit with considerable differences according to work setting (range 19–100%) and occupation (range 4–100%).
Conclusions
We found substantial year-on-year variations in seasonal influenza vaccination rates, with reduction in post pandemic influenza seasons. HBV vaccination is satisfactory compared to seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, although substantial variations by occupation and work setting were observed. These findings highlight the need for national strategies that optimize vaccination coverage among HCWs in Croatian hospitals. Further studies are needed to establish the potential role of mandatory vaccination for seasonal influenza.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-520
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
3.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Background:
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Results:
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
Conclusion:
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
doi:10.4103/0974-777X.59247
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
4.  Comparison of long-term immunogenicity (23 y) of 10 μg and 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine in healthy children 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2012;8(8):1071-1076.
To compare the long-term immunogenicity and seroprotection rates in healthy children following 23 years of vaccination with 10 μg or 20 μg doses of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine, we revisited all participants from our previous randomized controlled trial. At year 23, 81 participants were tested for HBV serological markers and HBV-DNA, and a booster dose was given to those with anti-HBs titer < 10 mIU/mL. After eliminating the interference of a Year 11 booster dose and vaccines received outside of the trial, around 50% of participants still maintained anti-HBs titers ≥ 10 mIU/mL in both 10 μg and 20 μg groups (p > 0.05). The peak immune response of vaccination (anti-HBs antibody levels at 12 mo after 1st vaccine dose) and Year 11 anti-HBs levels were significantly associated with Year 23 seroprotection rates. Most of the participants in both groups, regardless of their prior immune status, developed a rapid and robust anamnestic antibody response after the booster dose at year 23. No case of clinically significant HBV infection was observed during the entire study period of 23 y with only one transient HBsAg seroconversion in 10 μg vaccine group. We concluded that seroprotection provided by 10μg or 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine persists for 23 years in more than half of vaccinated individuals in highly HBV-endemic areas, irrespective of 10 μg or 20 μg vaccine doses. Future studies with larger sample sizes comparing long-term efficacy of various doses of plasma-derived and recombinant HBV vaccines are recommended.
doi:10.4161/hv.20656
PMCID: PMC3551878  PMID: 22854666
Anamnestic response; HBV; Hepatitis B; PDV; Vaccine; anti-HBs; clinical trial; immune response; long-term; plasma-derived vaccine; vaccine intervention study
5.  Determinants of influenza vaccination uptake among Italian healthcare workers 
We analyzed seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among the Italian healthcare workers (HCW) in order to identify socio-demographic and clinical determinants of vaccination.
We used data from the survey “Health and health care use in Italy,” which comprised interviews of 5,336 HCWs For each respondent, information on socioeconomic, health conditions, self-perceived health and smoking status were obtained. After bivariate analysis, we used multilevel regression models to assess determinants of immunization. Overall 20.8% of HCWs (95%CI 19.7–21.9) reported being vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
After controlling for potential confounders, multilevel regression revealed that older workers have a higher likelihood of vaccine uptake (OR = 6.07; 95% CI 4.72–7.79). Conversely, higher education was associated with lower vaccine uptake (OR = 0.65; 95% IC 0.50–0.83). Those suffering from diabetes (OR = 2.07; 95% CI 1.19–1.69), COPD (OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.31–2.89) and cardiovascular diseases (OR = 1.48 95% CI 1.11–1.96) were more likely to be vaccinated. Likewise, smokers, or former smokers receive more frequently the vaccination (OR = 1.40; 95% CI 1.15–1.70; OR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.24–1.91, respectively) compared with never-smokers as well as those HCWs reporting fair or poor perceived health status (ORs of 1.68, 95% CI 1.30–2.18).
Vaccine coverage among HCWs in Italy remains low, especially among those with no comorbidities and being younger than 44 y old. This behavior not only raises questions regarding healthcare organization, infection control in healthcare settings and clinical costs, but also brings up ethical issues concerning physicians who seem not to be very concerned about the impact of the flu on themselves, as well as on their patients. Influenza vaccination campaigns will only be effective if HCWs understand their role in influenza transmission and prevention, and realize the importance of vaccination as a preventive measure
doi:10.4161/hv.22997
PMCID: PMC3903913  PMID: 24064543
administration and dosage; attitude of health personnel; health behavior; human prevention and control; influenza; influenza vaccines; socioeconomic factors
6.  Long-Term Immunogenicity of the Pandemic Influenza A/H1N1 2009 Vaccine among Health Care Workers: Influence of Prior Seasonal Influenza Vaccination 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at great risk of influenza infection and transmission. Vaccination for seasonal influenza is routinely recommended, but this strategy should be reconsidered in a pandemic situation. Between October 2009 and September 2010, a multicenter study was conducted to assess the long-term immunogenicity of the A/H1N1 2009 monovalent influenza vaccine among HCWs compared to non-health care workers (NHCWs). The influence of prior seasonal influenza vaccination was also assessed with respect to the immunogenicity of pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine. Serum hemagglutinin inhibition titers were determined prevaccination and then at 1, 6, and 10 months after vaccination. Of the 360 enrolled HCW subjects, 289 participated in the study up to 10 months after H1N1 monovalent influenza vaccination, while 60 of 65 NHCW subjects were followed up. Seroprotection rates, seroconversion rates, and geometric mean titer (GMT) ratios fulfilled the European Union's licensure criteria for influenza A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) at 1 month after vaccination in both the HCWs and NHCWs, without any significant difference. At 6 months after vaccination, the seroprotection rate was more significantly lowered among the NHCWs than among the HCWs (P < 0.01). Overall, postvaccination (1, 6, and 10 months after vaccination) GMTs for A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) were significantly lower among the seasonal influenza vaccine recipients than among the nonrecipients (P < 0.05). In conclusion, HCWs should be encouraged to receive an annual influenza vaccination, considering the risk of repeated exposure. However, prior reception of seasonal influenza vaccine showed a negative influence on immunogenicity for the pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza vaccine.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00725-12
PMCID: PMC3623406  PMID: 23365206
7.  Lack of implementation of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) vaccination policy in household contacts of HBV carriers in Italy 
Background
In Italy, HBV vaccination is recommended and offered free of charge through the National Health Service to selected population groups – e.g., family members of an HBsAg carrier, healthcare workers, newborns and those who were 12-years old in 1991. However, a significant proportion of cases of acute hepatitis B still occur in Italy among persons who should have been vaccinated. We analysed HBV sero-prevalence data of two vaccination target populations (people born after 1980 and household contacts of an HBV carrier) living in a southern Italian area in order to evaluate HBV vaccine coverage and its possible determinants.
Methods
Between 2003 and 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional, population-based, sero-epidemiological survey on HBV infection on 4496 randomly selected individuals (aged 20 years or more) from the general population of the province of Naples. Sera were tested for antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBsAg) by commercial immunoassays. Prevalence of past or current HBV infection and of HBV vaccination-induced immunity was calculated in two vaccination target populations. To analyze the association of epidemiological and socioeconomic characteristics with HBV vaccination of household contacts, we calculated crude and multiple logistic regression (MLR) odds ratio (OR).
Results
Prevalence of HBV vaccine-induced immunity (anti-HBs alone) was much lower among household contacts (25%) than among those who had been targeted for universal adolescent vaccination (81.6%). Male sex, older age, unemployment and lower education levels were associated to lower immunization rates.
Conclusion
Understanding the different uptake of hepatitis B vaccination in these populations may provide useful information for optimizing vaccination campaigns in other contexts. Our data clearly demonstrated the need of improving the uptake of vaccination for household contacts of HBV carriers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-86
PMCID: PMC2702368  PMID: 19500412
8.  Protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers: a review of the role of influenza vaccination 
International Nursing Review  2011;59(2):161-167.
MUSIC T. (2012) A review of the role the role of influenza vaccination in protecting patients, protecting healthcare workers the role of influenza vaccination. International Nursing Review59, 161–167
Aim:
Many health authorities recommend routine influenza vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs), and during the 2009 A (H1N1) pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended immunization of all HCWs worldwide. As this remains an important area of policy debate, this paper examines the case for vaccination, the role of local guidelines, barriers to immunization and initiatives to increase uptake.
Background:
Seasonal influenza is a major threat to public health, causing up to 1 million deaths annually. Extensive evidence supports the vaccination of priority groups, including HCWs. Immunization protects HCWs themselves, and their vulnerable patients from nosocomial influenza infections. In addition, influenza can disrupt health services and impact healthcare organizations financially. Immunization can reduce staff absences, offer cost savings and provide economic benefits.
Methods:
This paper reviews official immunization recommendations and HCW vaccination studies, including a recent International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) survey of 26 countries from each region of the world.
Results:
HCW immunization is widely recommended and supported by the WHO. In the IFPMA study, 88% of countries recommended HCW vaccination, and 61% supported this financially (with no correlation to country development status). Overall, coverage can be improved, and research shows that uptake may be impacted by lack of conveniently available vaccines and misconceptions regarding vaccine safety/efficacy and influenza risk.
Conclusions:
Many countries recommend HCW vaccination against influenza. In recent years, there has been an increased uptake rate among HCWs in some countries, but not in others. Several initiatives can increase coverage, including education, easy access to free vaccines and the use of formal declination forms. The case for HCW vaccination is clear, and in an effort to further accelerate uptake as a patient safety measure, an increasing number of healthcare organizations, particularly in the USA, are implementing mandatory immunization policies, similar to other obligatory hygiene measures. However, it would be desirable if similar high vaccination uptake rates could be achieved through voluntary procedures.
doi:10.1111/j.1466-7657.2011.00961.x
PMCID: PMC3418836  PMID: 22591085
Coverage; Education; Guideline; Influenza; Policy; Recommendation; Reimbursement; Seasonal; Vaccine
9.  Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:422.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Methods
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Results
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Conclusion
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-422
PMCID: PMC2651144  PMID: 19105838
10.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Conclusions
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774.
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
11.  Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among health students and health care workers in the Najran region, southwestern Saudi Arabia: The need for national guidelines for health students 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:577.
Background
The objectives of the study were to study the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among health college students (HS) and health care workers (HCWs) in the Najran Region of south-western Saudi Arabia and to study the students’ knowledge of occupational exposure to blood-borne viral infections.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 300 HS and 300 HCWs was conducted.
Results
An overall seroprevalence of HBV of 1.7% and 8.7% was found among HS and HCWs, respectively. Two-thirds of HS (66.7%, 200) and 23.3% (70) of HCWs lack anti-HBs and are susceptible to HBV infection. An overall seroprevalence of HCV of 0% and 0.3% was found among the HS and HCWs, respectively. The present study indicates poor knowledge among HS and moderate knowledge among HCWs regarding occupationally transmitted blood-borne diseases, safe injection practices, and standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood-borne infections.
Conclusion
It is mandatory to develop a structured program to raise awareness among HS, and current health colleges’ curricula should be upgraded to address these issues early. The HS should be considered new recruits to health services in terms of their initial screening for blood-borne infections and vaccination against HBV. The development of a novel continuing medical education and pre-employment awareness program for HCWs is recommended to address the following: blood-borne diseases transmitted occupationally, standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood borne infections, and safe injection practices.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-577
PMCID: PMC4059075  PMID: 24912684
HBV; HCV; HCW; Health Students; Saudi Arabia
12.  Is Universal HBV Vaccination of Healthcare Workers a Relevant Strategy in Developing Endemic Countries? The Case of a University Hospital in Niger 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44442.
Background
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a serious risk to healthcare workers (HCWs) in endemic developing countries owing to the strong prevalence of HBV in the general and hospital populations, and to the high rate of occupational blood exposure. Routine HBV vaccination programs targeted to high-risk groups and especially to HCWs are generally considered as a key element of prevention strategies. However, the high rate of natural immunization among adults in such countries where most infections occur perinatally or during early childhood must be taken into account.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a cross sectional study in 207 personnel of 4 occupational groups (medical, paramedical, cleaning staff, and administrative) in Niamey’s National Hospital, Niger, in order to assess the prevalence of HBV markers, to evaluate susceptibility to HBV infection, and to identify personnel who might benefit from vaccination. The proportion of those who declared a history of occupational blood exposure ranged from 18.9% in the administrative staff to 46.9% in paramedical staff. Only 7.2% had a history of vaccination against HBV with at least 3 injections. Ninety two percent were anti-HBc positive. When we focused on170 HCWs, only 12 (7.1%) showed no biological HBV contact. Twenty six were HBsAg positive (15,3%; 95% confidence interval: 9.9%–20.7%) of whom 8 (32%) had a viral load >2000 IU/ml.
Conclusions/Significance
The very small proportion of HCWs susceptible to HBV infection in our study and other studies suggests that in a global approach to prevent occupational infection by bloodborne pathogens, a universal hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs is not priority in these settings. The greatest impact on the risk will most likely be achieved by focusing efforts on primary prevention strategies to reduce occupational blood exposure. HBV screening in HCWs and treatment of those with chronic HBV infection should be however considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044442
PMCID: PMC3436880  PMID: 22970218
13.  Vaccination coverage for seasonal influenza among residents and health care workers in Norwegian nursing homes during the 2012/13 season, a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:434.
Background
WHO has set a goal of 75% vaccination coverage (VC) for seasonal influenza for residents and also recommends immunization for all healthcare workers (HCWs) in nursing homes (NHs). We conducted a cross-sectional study to estimate the VC for seasonal influenza vaccination in Norwegian NHs in 2012/2013 since the VC in NHs and HCWs is unknown.
Methods
We gathered information from NHs concerning VC for residents and HCWs, and vaccination costs for HCWs, using a web-based questionnaire. We calculated VC among NH residents by dividing the number of residents vaccinated by the total number of residents for each NH. VC among HCWs was similarly calculated by dividing the number of HCWs vaccinated by the total number of HCWs for each NH. The association between VC and possible demographic variables were explored.
Results
Of 910 NHs, 354 (38.9%) responded. Median VC per NH was 71.7% (range 0-100) among residents and 0% (range 0-100) among HCWs, with 214 (60%) NHs reporting that none of their HCWs was vaccinated. Median VC for HCWs in NHs with an annual vaccination campaign was 0% (range 0-53), compared to when they did not have an annual vaccination campaign 0% (range 0-12); the distributions in the two groups differed significantly (Mann–Whitney U, P = 0.006 two tailed).
Conclusion
Median influenza VC in Norwegian NHs was marginally lower than recommended among residents and exceptionally low among HCWs. The VC in HCWs was significantly higher when NHs had an annual vaccination campaign. We recommend that NHs implement measures to increase VC among residents and HCWs, including vaccination campaigns and studies to identify potential barriers to vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-434
PMCID: PMC4049507  PMID: 24885662
14.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Background
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Results
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Conclusion
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-120
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
15.  Long-Term T-Cell-Mediated Immunologic Memory to Hepatitis B Vaccine in Young Adults Following Neonatal Vaccination. 
Hepatitis Monthly  2014;14(9):e22223.
Background:
The long-term duration of cell-mediated immunity induced by neonatal hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination is unknown.
Objectives:
Study was designed to determine the cellular immunity memory status among young adults twenty years after infantile HB immunization.
Patients and Methods:
Study subjects were party selected from a recent seroepidemiologic study in young adults, who had been vaccinated against HBV twenty years earlier. Just before and ten to 14 days after one dose of HBV vaccine booster injection, blood samples were obtained and sera concentration of cytokines (interleukin 2 and interferon) was measured. More than twofold increase after boosting was considered positive immune response. With regard to the serum level of antibody against HBV surface antigen (HBsAb) before boosting, the subjects were divided into four groups as follow: GI, HBsAb titer < 2; GII, titer 2 to 9.9; GIII, titer 10 to 99; and GIV, titers ≥ 100 IU/L. Mean concentration level (MCL) of each cytokines for each group at preboosting and postboosting and the proportion of responders in each groups were determined. Paired descriptive statistical analysis method (t test) was used to compare the MCL of each cytokines in each and between groups and the frequency of responders in each group.
Results:
Before boosting, among 176 boosted individuals, 75 (42.6%) had HBsAb 10 IU/L and were considered seroprotected. Among 101 serosusceptible persons, more than 80% of boosted individuals showed more than twofold increase in cytokines concentration, which meant positive HBsAg-specific cell-mediated immunity. MCL of both cytokines after boosting in GIV were decreased more than twofold, possibly because of recent natural boosting.
Conclusions:
Findings showed that neonatal HBV immunization was efficacious in inducing long-term immunity and cell-mediated immune memory for up to two decades, and booster vaccination are not required. Further monitoring of vaccinated subjects for HBV infections are recommended.
doi:10.5812/hepatmon.22223
PMCID: PMC4214124  PMID: 25368659
Cell-Mediated Immunity; Hepatitis B Vaccine; Booster Vaccination
16.  Lasting immune memory against hepatitis B in children after primary immunization with 4 doses of DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib in the first and 2nd year of life 
Background
Few studies have assessed long term persisting immunity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) in children vaccinated during infancy with combined vaccines containing recombinant HBV surface antigen (HBs). We assessed antibody persistence and immune memory in children 4-5 years of age, previously vaccinated with four doses of combined hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine (Infanrix hexa™).
Methods
Immune memory was assessed in 301 children through administration of a challenge dose of monovalent HBV vaccine.
Results
At 4-5 years of age, 85.3% of subjects had persisting anti-HBs antibody concentrations ≥ 10 mIU/mL, rising to 98.6% after the HBV challenge dose. All but 12 subjects (95.8%) achieved post-challenge anti-HBs concentrations ≥ 100 mIU/mL. The post-challenge anti-HBs GMC rose by 100-fold compared to pre-challenge concentrations. An anamnestic response to the HBV vaccine challenge was observed in 96.8% of subjects, including 17/21 (81.0%) of children with initially undetectable antibodies (<3.3 mIU/mL). All but 4 of 42 subjects (90.5%) with anti-HBs antibodies <10 mIU/mL prior to the challenge dose, achieved seroprotective levels afterwards. A 4-fold rise in antibody concentration after the challenge dose was observed in 259/264 (98.1%) of initially seropositive subjects. The magnitude of the post-challenge responses was proportional to pre-challenge anti-HBs levels. No serious adverse events were reported during the study.
Conclusion
The combined DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine induced lasting immune memory against hepatitis B. Long term protection afforded by DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib is likely to be similar to that observed following priming with monovalent HBV vaccines.
Trial registration
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov 106789 NCT00411697
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-9
PMCID: PMC2821389  PMID: 20078876
17.  Hepatitis B Infection in Microbiology Laboratory Workers: Prevalence, Vaccination, and Immunity Status 
The risk of contracting HBV by health care workers (HCW) is four-times greater than that of general adult population. Studies have demonstrated that vaccine-induced protection persists at least 11 years. High risk groups such as HCWs should be monitored and receive a booster vaccination if their anti-HBsAb levels decrease below 10 mIU/mL. In view of the above this study was undertaken to assess the HBV vaccination of the HCWs and their immunological response. Seventy-two HCWs of the Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India, were recruited and blood sample was drawn for serological tests (HBSAg, anti-HCV, anti-HBsAb, anti-HBeAb, and anti-HBcAb). Anti-HBs titers of >10 mIU/mL were considered protective. Thirty-four (47.3%) of the participants were completely vaccinated with three doses. 25 (73.5%) of the participants with complete vaccination had protective anti-HBsAb levels as against 8 (53.3%) of those with incomplete vaccination and 9 (39.1%) of those who were not vaccinated at all. One of our participants was acutely infected while 29 participants were susceptible to infection at the time of the study. All HCWs should receive three doses of the vaccine and be monitored for their immune status after every five years. Boosters should be administered to those who become susceptible.
doi:10.1155/2012/520362
PMCID: PMC3529463  PMID: 23304474
18.  Meningococcal, influenza virus, and hepatitis B virus vaccination coverage level among health care workers in Hajj 
Background
The objective of this study was to assess the compliance of health care workers (HCWs) employed in Hajj in receiving the meningococcal, influenza, and hepatitis B vaccines.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey of doctors and nurses working in all Mena and Arafat hospitals and primary health care centers who attended Hajj-medicine training programs immediately before the beginning of Hajj of the lunar Islamic year 1423 (2003) using self-administered structured questionnaire which included demographic data and data on vaccination history.
Results
A total of 392 HCWs were studied including 215 (54.8%) nurses and 177 (45.2%) doctors. One hundred and sixty four (41.8%) HCWs were from Makkah and the rest were recruited from other regions in Saudi Arabia. Three hundred and twenty three (82.4%) HCWs received the quadrivalent (ACYW135) meningococcal meningitis vaccine with 271 (83.9%) HCWs receiving it at least 2 weeks before coming to Hajj, whereas the remaining 52 (16.1%) HCWs received it within < 2 weeks. Only 23 (5.9%) HCWs received the current year's influenza virus vaccine. Two hundred and sixty (66.3%) of HCWs received the three-dose hepatitis B vaccine series, 19.3% received one or two doses, and 14.3% did not receive any dose. There was no statistically significant difference in compliance with the three vaccines between doctors and nurses.
Conclusion
The meningococcal and hepatitis B vaccination coverage level among HCWs in Hajj was suboptimal and the influenza vaccination level was notably low. Strategies to improve vaccination coverage among HCWs should be adopted by all health care facilities in Saudi Arabia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-80
PMCID: PMC1945029  PMID: 17640374
19.  Personal Decision-Making Criteria Related to Seasonal and Pandemic A(H1N1) Influenza-Vaccination Acceptance among French Healthcare Workers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e38646.
Background
Influenza-vaccination rates among healthcare workers (HCW) remain low worldwide, even during the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic. In France, this vaccination is free but administered on a voluntary basis. We investigated the factors influencing HCW influenza vaccination.
Methods
In June–July 2010, HCW from wards of five French hospitals completed a cross-sectional survey. A multifaceted campaign aimed at improving vaccination coverage in this hospital group was conducted before and during the 2009 pandemic. Using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, we assessed the relationships between seasonal (SIV) and pandemic (PIV) influenza vaccinations, and sociodemographic and professional characteristics, previous and current vaccination statuses, and 33 statements investigating 10 sociocognitive domains. The sociocognitive domains describing HCWs' SIV and PIV profiles were analyzed using the classification-and-regression–tree method.
Results
Of the HCWs responding to our survey, 1480 were paramedical and 401 were medical with 2009 vaccination rates of 30% and 58% for SIV and 21% and 71% for PIV, respectively (p<0.0001 for both SIV and PIV vaccinations). Older age, prior SIV, working in emergency departments or intensive care units, being a medical HCW and the hospital they worked in were associated with both vaccinations; while work shift was associated only with PIV. Sociocognitive domains associated with both vaccinations were self-perception of benefits and health motivation for all HCW. For medical HCW, being a role model was an additional domain associated with SIV and PIV.
Conclusions
Both vaccination rates remained low. Vaccination mainly depended on self-determined factors and for medical HCW, being a role model.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038646
PMCID: PMC3407215  PMID: 22848342
20.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
Conclusions
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001649
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
21.  Barriers to pandemic influenza vaccination and uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine in the post-pandemic season in Germany 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:938.
Background
In Germany, annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for certain target groups (e.g. persons aged ≥60 years, chronically ill persons, healthcare workers (HCW)). In season 2009/10, vaccination against pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, which was controversially discussed in the public, was recommended for the whole population. The objectives of this study were to assess vaccination coverage for seasonal (seasons 2008/09-2010/11) and pandemic influenza (season 2009/10), to identify predictors of and barriers to pandemic vaccine uptake and whether the controversial discussions on pandemic vaccination has had a negative impact on seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in Germany.
Methods
We analysed data from the ‘German Health Update’ (GEDA10) telephone survey (n=22,050) and a smaller GEDA10-follow-up survey (n=2,493), which were both representative of the general population aged ≥18 years living in Germany.
Results
Overall only 8.8% of the adult population in Germany received a vaccination against pandemic influenza. High socioeconomic status, having received a seasonal influenza shot in the previous season, and belonging to a target group for seasonal influenza vaccination were independently associated with the uptake of pandemic vaccines. The main reasons for not receiving a pandemic vaccination were ‘fear of side effects’ and the opinion that ‘vaccination was not necessary’. Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in the pre-pandemic season 2008/09 was 52.8% among persons aged ≥60 years; 30.5% among HCW, and 43.3% among chronically ill persons. A decrease in vaccination coverage was observed across all target groups in the first post-pandemic season 2010/11 (50.6%, 25.8%, and 41.0% vaccination coverage, respectively).
Conclusions
Seasonal influenza vaccination coverage in Germany remains in all target groups below 75%, which is a declared goal of the European Union. Our results suggest that controversial public discussions about safety and the benefits of pandemic influenza vaccination may have contributed to both a very low uptake of pandemic vaccines and a decreased uptake of seasonal influenza vaccines in the first post-pandemic season. In the upcoming years, the uptake of seasonal influenza vaccines should be carefully monitored in all target groups to identify if this trend continues and to guide public health authorities in developing more effective vaccination and communication strategies for seasonal influenza vaccination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-938
PMCID: PMC3527143  PMID: 23113995
Vaccination; Influenza; Coverage; Pandemic; Germany
22.  Predictive factors associated with the acceptance of pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccination in health care workers and students in Tuscany, Central Italy 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(12):2603-2612.
Assessing the beliefs and attitudes of Health Care Workers (HCW) to influenza and influenza vaccination can be useful in overcoming low compliance rates. The purpose of our study is to evaluate the opinion of HCW and students regarding influenza, influenza vaccine and the factors associated with vaccination compliance. A survey was conducted between October 2010 and April 2011 in the Florence metropolitan area. A questionnaire was administered to HCW in three local healthcare units and at Careggi University Teaching Hospital. Students matriculating in health degree programs at Florence University were also surveyed.
The coverage with vaccination against seasonal and pandemic influenza is generally low, and it is lower in students than in HCW (12.5% vs 15% for the seasonal vaccination, 8.5% vs 18% for the pandemic vaccination). Individuals comply with vaccination offer mainly to protect themselves and their contacts. Individuals not receiving vaccination did not consider themselves at risk, had never been vaccinated before or believed that pandemic influenza was not a public health concern. Physicians had the highest compliance to vaccination and women were less frequently vaccinated than men. HCW do not appear to perceive their possible influenza infections as a risk for patients: HCW receive vaccination mainly as a form of personal protection.
Low compliance to vaccination is determined by various factors and therefore requires a multi-faceted strategy of response. This should include short-term actions to overcome organizational barriers, in addition to long-term interventions to raise HCW’s level of knowledge about influenza and influenza vaccination.
doi:10.4161/hv.26036
PMCID: PMC4162047  PMID: 23954990
attitudes towards vaccine; vaccine policy; health care workers; influenza; H1N1; pandemic
23.  Sero-prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B virus infection among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Uganda 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:191.
Background
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a global public health challenge. Prevalence of current hepatitis B virus infection in the general population in Uganda is about 10%. Health care workers (HCW) have an extra risk of getting infected from their workplace and yet they are not routinely vaccinated against HBV infection. This study aimed at estimating prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection and associated risk factors among health care workers in a tertiary hospital in Uganda.
Methods
Data were obtained from a cross sectional survey conducted in Mulago, a national referral and teaching hospital in Uganda among health care workers in 2003. A proportionate to size random sample was drawn per health care worker category. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics and risk factors. ELISA was used to test sera for HBsAg, anti-HBs and total anti-HBc. Descriptive and logistic regression models were used for analysis.
Results
Among the 370 participants, the sero-prevalence of current hepatitis B virus infection was 8.1%; while prevalence of life time exposure to hepatitis B virus infection was 48.1%. Prevalence of needle stick injuries and exposure to mucous membranes was 67.8% and 41.0% respectively. Cuts were also common with 31.7% of doctors reporting a cut in a period of one year preceding the survey. Consistent use of gloves was reported by 55.4% of respondents. The laboratory technicians (18.0% of respondents) were the least likely to consistently use gloves. Only 6.2% of respondents were vaccinated against hepatitis B virus infection and 48.9% were susceptible and could potentially be protected through vaccination. Longer duration in service was associated with a lower risk of current infection (OR = 0.13; p value = 0.048). Being a nursing assistant (OR = 17.78; p value = 0.007) or a laboratory technician (OR = 12.23; p value = 0.009) were associated with a higher risk of current hepatitis B virus infection. Laboratory technicians (OR = 3.99; p value = 0.023) and individuals with no training in infection prevention in last five years (OR = 1.85; p value = 0.015) were more likely to have been exposed to hepatitis B virus infection before.
Conclusions
The prevalence of current and life time exposure to hepatitis B virus infection was high. Exposure to potentially infectious body fluids was high and yet only a small percentage of HCW were vaccinated. There is need to vaccinate all health care workers as a matter of policy and ensure a safer work environment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-191
PMCID: PMC2910699  PMID: 20587047
24.  Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B Virus among Health Care Workers in Korea 
We studied the seroprevalence of HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HBc and the vaccination histories among health care workers (HCWs) at a large suburban referral hospital in Korea. The purpose of this study was to determine the immune status of HCWs against hepatitis B virus and we also wanted to prepare a practical guideline to protect HCWs from occupational exposure. During December, 2003, 571 HCWs (56 physicians, 289 nurses, 113 technicians and 113 aid-nurses) aged between 21 and 74 yr were included in the surveillance. The positive rates of HBsAg and anti-HBs were 2.4% (14/571) and 76.9% (439/571), respectively. The positive rate of anti-HBs was lower in the physician group, and this was associated with the male gender and older age. Of the 439 anti-HBs positive cases, 320 cases (73.1%) were anti-HBc negative and this was significantly associated with a past history of HBV vaccination. The distribution of the anti-HBs levels was not associated with age (except for HCWs in their sixties), gender or occupation. Our study revealed that the seroprevalence rates of HBsAg and anti-HBs in HCWs in Korea were not different from those of the general population. Based on this surveillance, we can make reasonable decisions in case of occupational exposure to hepatitis B virus.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.1.58
PMCID: PMC2733980  PMID: 16479066
Hepatitis B surface Antigens; Anti-HBs; Anti-HBc; Occupational Exposure; Health Personnel; Korea
25.  Healthcare workers as parents: attitudes toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:596.
Background
Both the health care workers (HCWs) and children are target groups for pandemic influenza vaccination. The coverage of the target populations is an important determinant for impact of mass vaccination. The objective of this study is to determine the attitudes of HCWs as parents, toward vaccinating their children with pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine.
Methods
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted with health care workers (HCWs) in a public hospital during December 2009 in Istanbul. All persons employed in the hospital with or without a health-care occupation are accepted as HCW. The HCWs who are parents of children 6 months to 18 years of age were included in the study. Pearson's chi-square test and logistic regression analysis was applied for the statistical analyses.
Results
A total of 389 HCWs who were parents of children aged 6 months-18 years participated study. Among all participants 27.0% (n = 105) reported that themselves had been vaccinated against pandemic influenza A/H1N1. Two third (66.1%) of the parents answered that they will not vaccinate their children, 21.1% already vaccinated and 12.9% were still undecided. Concern about side effect was most reported reason among who had been not vaccinated their children and among undecided parents. The second reason for refusing the pandemic vaccine was concerns efficacy of the vaccine. Media was the only source of information about pandemic influenza in nearly one third of HCWs. Agreement with vaccine safety, self receipt of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 vaccine, and trust in Ministry of Health were found to be associated with the positive attitude toward vaccinating their children against pandemic influenza A/H1N1.
Conclusions
Persuading parents to accept a new vaccine seems not be easy even if they are HCWs. In order to overcome the barriers among HCWs related to pandemic vaccines, determination of their misinformation, attitudes and behaviors regarding the pandemic influenza vaccination is necessary. Efforts for orienting the HCWs to use evidence based scientific sources, rather than the media for information should be considered by the authorities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-596
PMCID: PMC3091558  PMID: 20932342

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